Punched woman unconscious in random attack

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While returning home from a night out a woman was knocked unconscious by one punch outside a fast food takeaway restaurant, Banbridge Magistrates Court heard last Thursday.

Niall McGrath (28), Bannview Heights, Banbridge, admitted assaulting the victim, occasioning her actual bodily harm, on May 1 last year.

The court heard that at 1.50pm police were in Newry Street, Banbridge, when an incident happened outside The Chicken Box restaurant.

McGrath had turned round a punched a female – not known to him – in the face causing her to fall unconscious to the ground.

She suffered swelling to her face, lip, cheeks and nose.

When interviewed McGrath said he could not remember because he was intoxicated but accepted he committed the offence.

A barrister representing the defendant said his client had no recollection but immediately held his hands up, saying this was out of character for him.

There was no excuse for what he did, added the barrister.

The young girl did nothing to provoke him but she was struck heavily and knocked to the ground.

He added that while there were minor offences on McGrath’s record there was nothing to suggest he got involved in this type of behaviour on a regular basis.

The barrister said this was out of character for the defendant who, since this incident, had rarely gone out.

He added that McGrath had learned a lesson and asked the court to consider leaving something hanging over him.

District Judge Eamonn King said he was assuming the young lady was making her way home after a night out and as people do had congregated at a fast food outlet.

He added that she was ‘a total stranger’ to the defendant and was struck by one punch which has had tragic consequences in the past.

The judge said that he realised McGrath accepted what he had done immediately and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity but he could not deal with the matter without a pre-sentence report.

He adjourned the case until February 16 so that the report could be obtained.